This simple trick may reveal whether you’re too consumed by your career

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Checking your work emails late at night? Working overtime too often? Distracted by office projects when you should be spending time with friends?

Let's face it, securing the perfect work-life balance is a far off dream for many.

It should come as no surprise that there are disadvantages that come with working overtime: fatigue, poor health, lack of attentiveness, to name a few.

According to one chief executive however, there's a simple method to identify whether an employee is too engrossed by work. Simply try the "vacation test."

"The vacation test says this - if four days into the vacation (that) you've earned, you're anxious, constantly checking your email, or finding ways to stay connected to your place of employment, you've already managed to cross over," Tim Cole, founder and CEO of consultancy The Compass Alliance, told CNBC over email.

"Burnout victim's first symptoms can often be identified not when they're on the job – but when they are away from the job," Cole said, adding that those who've managed to strike a measure of balance tend to recognize that going on vacation is "more than time away from work."

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In fact, a 2017 study — conducted by Kronos Incorporated and Future Workplace — discovered that 95 percent of over 600 U.S. human resource leaders interviewed saw employee burnout as sabotaging workforce retention.

Meanwhile, an Accountemps survey published in February revealed that 52 percent of workers admitted that they were stressed at work on a day-to-day basis, while some 60 percent have seen work-related pressure in their life rise in the past five years.

Consequently, showing signs of obsession and anxiety over a job can spell "a long term recipe for career disaster," Cole states.

"Your career isn't a marathon – it's a series of intense, highly competitive sprints," says the Compass Alliance founder.

"The rest factor – and the necessity for balance – is much more than HR-generated 'work/life balance' doggerel. It is essential for career longevity."

Aside from the vacation test, here are some other warning signs, employees should be on the lookout for:

  • Sacrificing time spent with loved ones due to "the demands of the office"
  • "Catching up" on the job during the weekends
  • Consistently checking emails or messaging outside of work
  • Minimal number of friends outside of work
  • Lack of hobbies outside of the workplace

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